Coop Quilts

Monday, February 14, 2011


We all know about bed quilts. And I’m sure you’ve read about barn quilts, those 8-foot square pieces of folk art that adorn barns from Kansas to Iowa to Pennsylvania. But, have you heard of Coop Quilts? Probably not.

After reading a magazine article on the history of barn quilts and the renewed interest in displaying barn quilts on farms of all sizes, I just had to have one of my own. But, how? I’m not a farmer living on large acreage with a barn bigger than a house to mount the wooden quilt to. I’m a suburban farmer with things done on a smaller scale, including my barn. Well folks, where there’s a will there’s a way. Right?

I spent a bit of time looking at my barn and looking over the pictures in the article and came up with the idea of a Coop Quilt, a barn quilt in miniature, just like everything else on my suburban homestead. I used a scrap piece of plywood and cut it to 24” X 24”. I found some leftover white primer and painted the board on all sides, including the edges, with two coats. While it was drying I searched the internet for a quilt block pattern I liked. Nothing to intricate or complicated, I wanted the pattern and the colors to stand out. I also gathered up all the leftover paint to see what colors I had that would go well together.

After the primer had dried and I had found a quilt block pattern I liked, I traced the pattern onto the board with pencil. Working from the center out, I taped off a section at a time with blue painter’s tape, so the lines would be nice and crisp. I tried to paint sections of the same color all at once. When each section was finished I let the quilt dry completely before starting on the next section. In just a few hours my Coop Quilt was complete and ready for hanging on my barn.

Since my barn is not very tall and there isn’t much room over the end doors, I opted to mount my quilt on the side where I could see it from anywhere in the yard.

Not bad for Yankee ingenuity, aye.

**The quilt pattern I chose was “Hens and Chicks”. Very appropriate, don’t you think?

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